Friday, March 11, 2011

Lent is NOT Clean

Pastor Brenda Sawatzky Paetkau began Sunday School last Sunday with the words "Lent is NOT clean." Those simple words have stayed with me all week. They have resonated a truth that I have in past years acknowledge without words and yet see fully with Brenda's statement. 
Lent is NOT clean. It's messy, just as our lives our messy. It's a time when we examine and reflect upon our own shortcomings with the hope that we might turn towards God's amazing grace. I like the season of Lent. Don't know why. I don't have the words to express my fondness of this season that often focuses on our sins. And I should note that I tend to dislike that word: sins. Maybe its due to the fact that we never are lefts with the confession of our sins, but are always give words of assurance, words telling us of God's unending love. Maybe its because as a perfectionist its a time to acknowledge that I am human with limits; I can't do everything. But whatever the reasons, I like Lent.

 And I think I like it because it is NOT clean. Lent is messy. And it falls during a time when our lives are messy. Spring is coming. Snow is melting. Mud and dirt cover the ground, our homes, our cars, our feet. The sun makes its appearance known, illuminating the dirt and mud in our lives. Yet among all that dirt and mess, new growth happens. Little green stems being to pop up with the promise of beautiful flowers soon to come. Isn't from the mess in our lives that we learn the hardest lessons in which we grown the most? I think this might be why I like Lent. Its a time to not only examine ourselves but to better ourselves. There is a structured time within the community of the church that we can turn back toward God. A time every year to strengthen our relationship with God and her people. 
So here is my confession. For all my perfectionist tendencies, I am a horrible housekeeper. My house is a constant state of disarray. Yes I realize I'm a mother of 3 small children, but somehow that fact does not diminish my guilt over my bad housekeeping skills. And yet my boys are healthy, happy and well loves. 
Despite my strong faith, my personal spiritual practices often feel rushed and unfulfilled.  And yet I still feel a deep connection to the divine through church services such as the Ash Wednesday service this week. So where does that leave me? It leaves me room to grow, to change. 
This Lent I'm choosing to do three things. 
        First I'm limiting my caffeine intake. No more soda. And less caffeinated coffee. Instead of making 2/3 caffeinated to 1/3 decaffeinated coffee in the mornings, I'm making 1/3 caffeinated to 2/3 decaffeinated. My hope is that with less caffeine in my system I'll feel better, less anxious, more alive. And then I can more fully interact with my family and community. 
        Second, I am taking 5 minutes out of each day to mediate and pray.  That might not seem like alot, but when you life is a constant go, go, go, even 5 minutes can feel like a lifetime. :) 
        Thirdly, and finally, I'm telling myself that the chaos in my life is OK. This is a stage in our life. I need to enjoy the now and not worry constantly about the mess in the kitchen or the toys on the floor. For as the ashes remind us, "From dust you came and to dust you shall return." I am limited, human, mortal. This life is all I know. So I should make the best of it and enjoy it in this very moment. 


Pastor Cindy said...

you are amazing. Beautifully written reflection on Lent. I will be posting a link tomorrow on facebook and twitter. Love you.

Kristin said...

Thank you.